The Dolphins announced the signing of running back Sony Michel, a former Super Bowl champion with the 2021 Los Angeles Rams and 2018 New England Patriots.
For Miami, it's the third veteran addition to the position -- fifth if you include fullbacks. Head Coach Mike McDaniel and General Manager Chris Grier discussed their shared vision for the position at their first joint-interview on the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield.
"Mike prepared a tape of what he's looking for at the running back position. It was a great teaching moment for (the scouts) and the offensive coaching staff who came in and listened, too," said Grier. "It was a good visual opportunity for all the scouts and coaches to be in one room talking about what we're looking for at the position and things that Mike has had success at finding in San Francisco. Our scouts really appreciated that."
Here are five things on new Dolphins running back, Sony Michel.
1. Another South Florida Homecoming
The nation's mecca of the sport has seen a handful of South Florida's favorite football sons return home this spring. On the coaching staff, the legendary cornerback tandem of Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain will work with the defensive backs. Wes Welker is back to coach the wide receivers and, on the field, Michel makes it two former local high school phenoms to sign with the Dolphins (Teddy Bridgewater).
The son of Haitian immigrants, Michel landed at powerhouse American Heritage in Plantation. There, he rushed for 4,758 yards and 63 touchdowns on the varisty football team. He also won districts in both the 100- and 200-meter dash as a member of the track team.
Those statistics continued into a dominant college career at the University of Georgia. Michel capped his career with a berth in the 2018 College Football National Championship Game after piling up 4,234 yards from scrimmage and 39 total touchdowns in four seasons. His success led to Michel hearing his name called in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the same year he would score the only touchdown in a 13-3 victory in Super Bowl LIII.
2. Two-Time Super Bowl Champion
After 931 yards on the ground during that rookie season, Michel went off in the playoffs. He scored the aforementioned Super Bowl touchdown, but that was merely an encore performance to his showings in the divisional and conference championship rounds.
In his first two postseason games, Michel combined for 242 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Sprinkle in 94 yards and that touchdown in the Super Bowl and Michel totaled 336 yards on the ground and six touchdowns in the playoffs following the 2018 season, an average of 112 yards and two visits to paydirt per game.
Michel was also an integral part of the Rams championship run this past season. Over the final six games, a slate in which the Rams' only loss was an overtime defeat against the 49ers, Michel rushed for 540 yards on 129 rush attempts. This came during a stretch in which starter Cam Akers was unavailable and Darrell Henderson played just two games and carried the ball seven times.
3. By the Numbers: A Consistent Hammer with Vision
We covered the high school and college production, and by no surprise, Michel has chewed up yards and touchdowns as a pro. He has 3,614 career rushing yards with 24 touchdowns, good for a 4.2 career yards per attempt. Michel has fumbled only once in the last two seasons on 325 touches.
With a stalky, 215-pound frame, Michel runs behind his pads, stays square to the line of scrimmage and pushes the pile. This has helped him convert on 66 percent of his career carries on third or fourth down and needing three yards or fewer to move the sticks.
Pro Football Focus has Michel with 123 career missed-tackles-forced on 854 attempts, good for one tackle evaded every 6.9 carries. He averaged 2.74 yards after initial contact a season ago, right in-line with his career average at 2.73.
Michel hits a 10-plus-yard run on 9.4 percent of his career carries - 96 total on the 854 carries. His versatility shows up in the PFF splits. He's carried the ball 462 on zone calls and 360 times behind a gap scheme. He's no slouch in pass protection either, allowing just 12 career QB pressures on 233 pass-blocking attempts.
4. Haitian Roots and the Be Like Brit Foundation
Every year, the NFL affords players the opportunity to raise money for the cause of their choice through the My Cause My Cleats initiative. This story from Patriots.com details Michel's honoring of The Be Like Brit Foundation, which constructed Brit's House, an orphanage in Haiti that houses and provides education for the 66 children who reside there.
"The big picture is all about serving, just trying to make a difference, whether it's Be Like Brit," he said. "People need help, why not? It don't take much to make a difference. It's all about being willing to go out and do something."
5. A Professional from the Start
Michel was reminded of his star potential often from the very beginning. Despite the praise heaped on him by coaches and peers in high school, Michel's work ethic only served to amplify the expectations of a future professional career.
A teammate at both Georgia and New England, center David Andrews was introduced to Michel and his mindset early on.
"I think being a senior and watching freshmen come in that work hard and things like that, those kind of attributes stick out a little bit more than on the field," Andrews said. "I mean, obviously, he was a great player, but I think that stuff - just his work ethic [stuck out]. Kind of head down mentality, getting the work done and not getting overwhelmed or anything like that."
Fellow first-rounder Isaiah Wynn was also a Bulldog-turned-Patriot from that 2018 draft class.
"The best part that I like about him is his leadership and his vibe," said his former Georgia roommate and fellow Patriots first rounder Isaiah Wynn. "I've never seen a day where he didn't feel up to working, whatever it may have been. So it's just his vibe. You can easily catch his vibe and he'll get you right on point."
For more analysis on new Dolphins running back Sony Michel, subscribe to the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield.
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